Genesis 15:13 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 15:13, NIV: "Then the LORD said to him, 'Know for certain that for four hundred years your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own and that they will be enslaved and mistreated there."

Genesis 15:13, ESV: "Then the LORD said to Abram, “Know for certain that your offspring will be sojourners in a land that is not theirs and will be servants there, and they will be afflicted for four hundred years."

Genesis 15:13, KJV: "And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years;"

Genesis 15:13, NASB: "Then God said to Abram, 'Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, where they will be enslaved and oppressed for four hundred years."

Genesis 15:13, NLT: "Then the LORD said to Abram, 'You can be sure that your descendants will be strangers in a foreign land, where they will be oppressed as slaves for 400 years."

Genesis 15:13, CSB: "Then the LORD said to Abram, "Know this for certain: Your offspring will be resident aliens for four hundred years in a land that does not belong to them and will be enslaved and oppressed."

What does Genesis 15:13 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

The Lord will soon complete a covenant ritual between Himself and Abram, a ritual that will specify, in part, the boundaries of future Israel to be occupied and possessed by Abram's descendants.

First, however, God will reveal to Abram a prophecy about the difficult future his descendants will face before they occupy the Promised Land. Abram's offspring, God says, will be strangers, sojourners, serving others in a land that is not their own. They will be afflicted or mistreated for 400 years. God is referring to Israel's slavery in Egypt, after the death of Joseph (Genesis 50:26) and before the story of Moses and the Exodus (Exodus 1:1–8). As is common in all forms of literature, the reference to time here is a generic, round number. It is perhaps meant to refer to four generations that will come and go during that time. Exodus 12:40 and Galatians 3:17 specify the length of that captivity as 430 years.

God is making clear to Abram that, though the promise of the land will be kept, it will be kept in God's own time, centuries in the future.